RIP: Kim Fowley, co-producer of Richard Berry post-LOUIE songs


Kim Fowley, the legendary Hollywood huckster, eccentric music producer, singer-songwriter, Svengali music biz mastermind, and author of the autobiography “Lord of Garbage,” has died at the age of 75 years old.

Kim Fowley lived an extremely vivid life filled with incredible stories with a multitude of people in the entertainment industry.

About a year and a half ago, I was able to interview Kim for the LOUIE documentary, which I wrote about in a special blog posting.

Working with his then-partner Gary S. Paxton, he co-produced some Richard Berry recordings three years after Richard recorded LOUIE LOUIE in 1957, and three years before the Kingsmen recorded LOUIE LOUIE in 1963.

Kim and Gary also recorded the first album by Paul Revere & the Raiders, a few years before they became the first rock band signed to Columbia Records, the world’s largest record label in the 1960’s.

Kim was a member of Frank Zappa‘s Mothers of Invention, appearing on their initial “Freak Out” album before moving on to other projects.

Kim was a major inspiration for Cyril Jordan of the Flamin’ Groovies, directly inspiring their early hit recording “Teenage Head.”

Anyways, the list of things that Kim was attached to is a long and impressive one – starting off with his partnership with Gary S. Paxton that led to their collaboration as the Hollywood Argyles, a studio project that wound up with a hit record “Alley Opp.”

Along this amazing life journey, Kim also became Thelonious Monk’s food runner, worked closely as DJ Alan Freed’s protégé, produced the final album by Gene Vincent, and collaborated with a multitude of talents that included Helen Reddy, Alice Cooper, Cat Stevens, The Seeds, Soft Machine, the Byrds, Manfred Mann, Warren Zevon, Fabian, Leon Russell, The Germs, and so many others.

Kim’s association with The Runaways is certainly well documented in various media, including a cinematic docudrama of the band’s story featuring actor Michael Shannon in the role of Kim Fowley.

Me, I’m just glad I was able to finally meet Kim in person and do the interview that we’d talking about doing for years. He was certainly an engaging individual that I really enjoyed chatting with.

As Kim spoke, he made it absolutely clear that Death would be his “next long term project.” The pain of his cancer could not ignored. In spite of his situation, he continued to collaborate with various creative individuals, writing music and doing interviews up until the very end. In fact, on the day I finally met him, he had another interview scheduled right before mine, and I had to wait an extra 40 minutes, as he wound up speaking longer than he expected.

I have no doubt he was very proud that one of his songs was featured in “Guardians of the Galaxy“- the #1 movie of 2014.

Rest in peace, Kim.

You shall not be forgotten.

Richard Berry - Give It Up

Reference articles:

Los Angeles Times – Kim Fowley, the eccentric L.A. producer-manager who created the Runaways, is dead at 75

Kim Fowley: 10 Essential Tracks

Kim Fowley as the man behind The Runaways

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